The owners of independent food & coffee shop brand Bob & Berts say they will start opening new sites again later this year after successfully reopening all of their existing stores.
Founded in Portstewart in 2000, Bob & Bert’s is known for its distinctive style, quality coffee and fresh food offering and local community focused approach. It now has 20 stores across Northern Ireland and Scotland and employs over 400 staff.
After closing all of its sites in March as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, all of Bob & Berts coffee shops are now open and staff are back at work with, several locations staying open until 9pm.
Colin McClean, co-owner of Bob & Berts said: “We reopened our Coleraine site for takeaway only on May 18, reopened all sites in NI by the end of June and reopened in Scotland in mid-July. All sites are now fully operational and stores are performing ahead of our expectations, which is really positive and shows people have missed what we offer.”
The business has introduced a number of new innovations following the lockdown, including the launch of an online ordering service through its own app, which has had a positive impact on sales.. The app also allows customers to order for collection or delivery to their home or workplace within 30 minutes.
David Ferguson co-owner of Bob & Bert’s added: “Lockdown has given us confidence that we can deliver a takeaway service and we have seen the success of our app. We know there may be more twists and turns because of coronavirus but we’re committed to delivering a great service in safe environments to our customers.”
Bob & Berts also intends to continue with its programme of new store openings, with a store in Stirling, Scotland that was originally scheduled to arrive in April, now expected to open in October. The company is still looking for additional sites in Northern Ireland and Scotland and expects to launch its first store in the north of England in the latter part of 2021.
Bob & Berts is one of seven Northern Ireland-based companies to have received investment from BGF, the UK & Ireland’s most active investor in ambitious, growing companies. In 2017 BGF made a £2m equity investment into Bob & Berts to help drive the expansion of the business in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland.
BGF has backed 24 new companies in the first half of the year whilst continuing to actively support its portfolio. In June, BGF invested £10m in Lisburn-based Decora, a leading manufacturer of window coverings, to support its long-term growth plans including expansion into European markets.
Total H1 investment stands at £177m and includes £128m into new portfolio companies and £49m into existing portfolio companies.